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In Honor of International Women's Day

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By Anne Gordon, Head of Business Development at Hooligan 

In celebrating International Women’s Day, check out Kathleen Rooney’s inspirational portrait of Margaret Fishback, a pioneering protofeminist, poet, author, and advertising creative. 

A love letter to city life in New York, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the Great Depression, to the onset of the AIDS epidemic and the birth of hip-hop.

The novel is based on the life of Margaret Fishback, the highest-paid female advertising copywriter in the world during the 1930s – not to mention, a poet, Protofeminist, successful career woman, and mother.

In the story, Lillian, now an octogenarian, strolls around her beloved city by day, reflecting on her extraordinary career and life as a wife and mother, whilst inhabiting the sad decay of her home in Murray Hill by night. She is eminently stylish: dressed in a mink coat, a wide-brimmed navy blue fedora, riding boots —- and adorned with her classic Helena Rubinstein orange fiery lipstick, which she craftily stockpiled after learning it was to be discontinued.

Lillian is a woman before her time. She worked her way up through the advertising ranks at a Macy’s department store, while challenging her superiors with demands for equal pay for equal work. You see, Lillian might be highly paid, but she is by no means the highest paid (“the two track, male-female pay grade don’t make much sense,” as Rooney writes in the book). The company sees her salary as a “gift,” while she sees it as a right!

Lillian is smart. She is ambitious. She is determined. She embodies talent and strength with an insightfulness that many other women in the advertising business have been aspiring to for years. Some may say we still have a way to go.

Here’s to the Lillians of the world